Favorable Influences in the World to Support the Growth of the Idea of Internationalism

At the time Sri Aurobindo reviewed these issues, there were already evident certain forces working toward creating an environment supportive of internationalism.  In the intervening decades, the trends have become much more pronounced and one can easily see the global scope of human development and the issues facing humanity as a whole.  The development of technology that can create instantaneous visual and aural communications virtually anywhere on the planet is clearly one such factor, as is the development of speedy airplane travel which has created a massive movement of people from one country to the next at will.  The global communication and media net including the advent of the internet has brought about a mingling of cultural influences as well.  The rise of multi-national corporations and their pervasive influence on the economic and cultural trends cannot be overlooked.  Global concerns such as pollution, depletion of resources, imbalanced access to those resources, climate change, the possibility of global pandemics, as well as weapons of mass destruction which must be controlled to avoid the peril of global conflagration all tend to bring people and governments from all around the world together as these are issues which transcend national borders.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “The strongest of these favourable forces is the constant drawing closer of the knots of international life, the multiplication of points of contact and threads of communication and an increasing community in thought, in science and in knowledge.  Science especially has been a great force in this direction; for science is a thing common to all men in its conclusions, open to all in its methods, available to all in its results: it is international in its very nature; there can be no such thing as a national science, but only the nations’ contributions to the work and growth of science which are the indivisible inheritance of all humanity.”

“Even cosmopolitan habits of life are now not uncommon and there are a fair number of persons who are as much or more citizens of the world as citizens of their own nation.  The growth of knowledge is interesting the peoples in each other’s art, culture, religion, ideas and is breaking down at many points the prejudice, arrogance and exclusiveness of the old nationalistic sentiment.”

“As these influences grow and come more and more consciously to cooperate with each other, it might be hoped that the necessary psychological modification will quietly, gradually, but still irresistibly and at last with an increasing force of rapidity take place which can prepare a real and fundamental change in the life of humanity.”

It should be noted that no human progress ever takes place in an uninterrupted and straight fashion.  There are reactive forces which try to resist or reverse the progressive action of evolutionary Nature, and they may for a time seem to hold sway and reverse progress that has been made.  In the end, however, the forward movement is taken up once again, and eventually a real and substantive change in human society can be seen to have established itself.

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 32, Internationalism, pp. 280-281


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